To introduce the engineering and technology professions, we are profiling people who found have meaningful connections to their work, like Damien Ch’ng, P.Eng. He is an engineer for Ontario Power Generation in Thunder Bay. He is affiliated with the Lakehead Chapter of PEO, and helped make their NEM 2016 event a big success as well as a splash on local media! (His part starts at 10:53 – great job). Here’s a peek inside Damien’s journey:
Tell us about a time when you felt proud of what you accomplished in your job.
As a Structural Engineer, I am always proud of seeing my designs become a reality. Whether it is a small access platform or a giant structure, seeing something that started out as an idea in my head become a physical reality is something that will forever swell my chest with pride. Thus far in my career, I would have to say my proudest accomplishment would be co-designing a 100m tall steel tower at the bottom of a 1000m deep mine shaft. The unique circumstances under which the structure was to be constructed introduced many challenges in the design process that my co-designer and I needed to overcome while still meeting the needs of the client. It was a very challenging and exciting project and I am very happy and proud to have been a part of it.
How did you know you were meant to be an engineer?
Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in figuring out how and why things work. I would often take things apart to see all the internal components and then try and put it back together. One of my earliest memories of using this interest and skill is when my grandfather offered me a broken VCR during a time when VCR’s were still quite expensive. He told me that I could have it if I could fix it. I took the whole thing apart, figured out how all the belts and levers worked, determined what the problem was, and was able to repair it. That VCR lasted another 10 years. This type of investigation and problem solving has always peaked my interest and is what got me hooked on Engineering.
What are the most exciting types of problems you like to solve?
I enjoy trying to figure out new and better ways to do things. When given a task or witnessing one being performed, I always ask myself “is this the best and most efficient way to do this?”. Solving these types of problems is, what I believe to be, one of the things that makes me a better Engineer and a better person overall.
What’s the coolest project you ever worked on and what was the result?
The coolest project I have worked on is also the project I am most proud off. The 100m tall tower I previously mentioned was utterly massive, especially when seen in the close confines of a mine shaft. The purpose of the structure was to serve as the receiving end for the mine shaft elevator (cage). Not only would the structure lock the cage into place so that people and equipment could be safely loaded and unloaded but it also house the sensors and emergency stops that would be activated if the cage descended too far beyond the level it was supposed to stop at. Another unique aspect of the tower is that, due to the sequence of construction, once completed, it would have to be lifted and moved horizontally so that it would be centered on the shaft above. This was a feat of engineering in itself since the structure weighed 200 tons (400,000 lbs) and there were no cranes underground large enough to lift it. A series of jacking and pushing systems were used to lift, push, and rotate the tower into place. The ingenuity and requirement for unique solutions is what, for me, made this the coolest project to work on.
(If you or someone you know is a P.Eng., C.Tech., CET or working toward those designations and would like to be profiled on the NEM spotlight – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org )
Damien’s employer, Ontario Power Generation is a proud sponsor of National Engineering Month 2016 in Ontario!
Thank you for helping us making NEM happen!